Dane Cobain is an independent poet, musician, and storyteller with a passion for language and learning. When he’s not in front of a screen writing stories and poetry, he can be found working on his book review blog or developing his website, www.danecobain.com. His debut novella, No Rest for the Wicked, was released in the summer of 2015.

Dane Cobain is actually the first author I'm interviewing on my site and I'm honoured to do so. Here are my questions and his answers:


1. Your bio on Twitter says "Social media marketer, poet, musician and author". Are you really all of these things?
I’m all of those things and more. I work in social media marketing for a creative agency called fst in the daytime, and then I work on everything else at night and at the weekend. I generally think of myself just as a ‘writer’, which encompasses everything from fiction writing to poetry, music, and journalism.

2. How do you juggle these passions without one not overwhelming the other? 
I just spend almost all of my time working on stuff. Music certainly takes a back seat, as does social media marketing, but really the problem isn’t that one discipline will overwhelm the others – it’s that it’s hard to classify me as a writer, and that’s off-putting for some readers. But I just love writing and creating things – when I work on a project, I do it for myself.

3. When did you discover you love to write.
When I was sixteen or so. I started out writing songs, then moved into writing poetry and journals, and from there I went into writing novels. I finished writing my first novel when I was eighteen or so and never looked back.

4. What challenges are you facing as a writer in today's world? How are you coping?
I think the main problem with being a writer in today’s world is that it’s difficult to make any money. Only the people at the very top of their game, who are repped and distributed by major publishing houses, are able to make a living from book sales alone. Everyone else has to either work a second job or turn to freelancing, both of which take a lot of time and lead you away from working on your manuscripts. The key is just to work as much as possible and to spend every hour you can trying to hone your craft.

5. If you could borrow another writer's power, whose would you borrow and why?
It depends what you mean by ‘power’ – Clarke Kent worked at a newspaper and was Superman, so that could work. But I think my actual answer would be Charles Bukowski – he has a way with words that I’ve not seen anywhere else. He can take coarse, vulgar language and everyday words and turn them into something beautiful.

6. The book description for your book, Former.ly, sounds a bit ominous. Do you foresee our society going that way?
Interesting question! Well Former.ly takes the idea of social networking to the nth degree, in much the same way that dystopian science fiction novels take our current technology and extrapolate a possible future from it. Realistically, I don’t think that a site like Former.ly will ever exist, but I do think that over the coming years we’re going to have to figure out, as a society, how to deal with death when it comes to social networking sites and the internet as a whole. I wouldn’t be surprised if people started pre-writing their own obituaries and leaving instructions about their social networking presence when they create their wills. I’m actually planning on doing something similar myself, to make sure that if I do die unexpectedly, all of my writing won’t just disappear.

7. Which book has changed your life in the last 10 years?
Tough question! I don’t know if any particular book has changed my life, as such. I read so many that there isn’t really any individual book that fits that description. The only answer that I can think of is No Rest for the Wicked, because there’s nothing like signing a deal with a publisher and getting your first proper book on to the market.

8. What are you optimistic about (as a writer) as you look forward to the future?
I guess it’s my own abilities. I’ve seen myself getting noticeably better as the years go on, and it’s a trend that I think will continue into the future. You learn more and more as time goes on, especially once you start releasing books and can learn from the feedback that you receive in the reviews, and so I’m excited to see what I come up with in the coming years.

9. What scares you (as a writer) as you look forward to the future?
Monetisation. The ultimate goal for me is to be able to make enough money from writing to pack in my day job and to write full-time. It’s pretty much unachievable if I look at the sales from books alone, but there are other ways to do it. I’d like to be doing that within the next ten years or so, and it’s something that I’ll always have an eye on.

10. What advice would you give to your teenage self?
Just stick at it. Even if you’re insecure about your writing or if you think that your work isn’t any good, just keep on going. You’ll get there eventually. And in the meantime, read as much as you can, and don’t sell your book collection on eBay to pay for booze. You’ll regret it when you’re older.